Two Texas Cities – Austin and Dallas – on Short List for Second Amazon Headquarters

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Illustration by Todd Wiseman

Austin and Dallas are among 20 North American metropolitan areas being considered for a second headquarters for Amazon, the online retailing giant announced Thursday morning.

The cities were among several in Texas that had been competing to lure the company. Competition among cities has been fierce, since Amazon says it plans to invest $5 billion on its new headquarters and create “as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs” in the city it picks.

Thursday’s list eliminates two major Texas cities – Houston and El Paso – that were also vying for the spot. Despite initial plans to do so, San Antonio did not submit a bid to host the company’s second headquarters. City officials told Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in October that “blindly giving away the farm isn’t our style.”

Tiny Milam County and Frisco also submitted bids to the company, but were left off the short list. It’s not immediately clear whether Frisco still has a shot, since Amazon said it’s considering metropolitan areas and Frisco is suburb of Dallas.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings tweeted Thursday that he’s “thrilled” Dallas is still being considered for the site.

Cities across North America have offered major economic incentives to lure Amazon, including tax breaks and land. And while some cities have publicly offered up their proposals to the tech giant – New Jersey, for example, has pledged up to $7 billion in tax incentives, and Chicago officials offered Amazon tax credits of about $1.32 billion in income taxes – Texas cities have stayed quieter about what they’re willing to put on the table. Austin city officials said in October that no local financial incentives were included in their bid for the headquarters. 

“Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” said Holly Sullivan, Amazon’s head of worldwide economic development. “Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”

While this week’s news narrows the list of contenders quite a bit – including by eliminating all the regions in Mexico that submitted bids – it brings few surprises. Long-time frontrunners like Atlanta and Denver – The New York Times algorithm’s early pick – remain in the running, while the company has eliminated long-shot candidates like Stonecrest, Georgia, population 20,000, which pledged to rename itself after Amazon if selected.

Amazon said it expects to make a final decision on a site this year.

Here’s the list of all 20 cities:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Indianapolis
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • New York City
  • Northern Virginia
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Toronto
  • Washington, D.C.

2 thoughts on “Two Texas Cities – Austin and Dallas – on Short List for Second Amazon Headquarters

  1. I am so proud of our metro area leaders choosing not to pursue this opportunity. If we had pursued, tax incentives would most definitely have been offered but most likely very few of the high paying job openings would have gone to San Antonians. The highest paying positions would most likely be transfers from the current headquarters as they would most easily be replaced by promotions back in Seattle. The majority of the high paying jobs are most likely programmers/coders. Unfortunately, San Antonio does not have the workforce to fill most of those positions. If it came close, it would be at the expense of other offices in SA losing their tech employees with no one local available to replace them. So the truth is that we would have a migration of tech employees into town to fill the positions. This means we’d have more residents and unfortunately, the taxes they bring in would not compare to the amount of taxes we would have given away to Amazon. We just avoided using more local, government resources to provide for an out-of-town work force, with less tax money to pay for those resources and getting minimal job growth opportunities for locals.

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